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The Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, Pennsylvania: a Supporting Argument

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How many of you have been to Presque Isle State Park? The reason I am asking that question is because the organization we are supporting is the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. They are located near the entrance of Presque Isle State Park and next to Lake Erie. TREC is “a center for research, contributing to conservation efforts and promoting environmental awareness, helping to preserve the unparalleled beauty of Presque Isle, the site of Pennsylvania’s only seashore.” (This was taken off their website) If you went for a walk, went fishing, kayaking, or something else out on the park, you would like to see the beach and the state park this clean, right? So what we did to contribute to the cleanliness of the Presque Isle State Park is we picked up trash at one of the busiest beach areas. Additionally, we learned our information about TREC from the environmental community relations specialist and Environmental Education Specialist, From the information they both gave us, we learned what they want the public to do for TREC and we learned what some things TREC has done to make a difference.

Lastly, we learned that a problem TREC tries to resolve is the negative environmental impact by people. Therefore, the two points I will be mentioning are why TREC needs public support to preserve Presque Isle and Lake Erie’s environment and how humans negatively impact the environment. I’m going to give a bit of history about the lake, and explain why the history shows the need for people to support TREC. The source is given information by Cleveland State University, and they state, “by the 1960s, factories dumped pollutants into the lake and the waterways that flowed into it [had no] government oversight. [As a result,] waste from city sewers made its way into the lake too, as did fertilizer and pesticides from runoff”. Runoff is when stormwater takes pollution from cities and takes it into a lake or river. Because of this pollution, Lake erie had increased levels of phosphorus which causes a lot of algae to grow in the water. Algae takes away oxygen from the lake, so dead fish littered the shoreline. Because of the uproar created by the public and the media, the Clean Water Act of 1972 was passed by Congress to begin cleaning the lake and they are currently working on fully restoring the lake (

Because of this act, TREC is given money by the government to preserve the lake environment. If less people were to support, less people were to visit, and less people were to donate and contribute to TREC, then the government would give less money to TREC because the government would think that the public does not care about the health of Lake Erie and Presque Isle State Park. The lack of funding to TREC may result in the lake environment suffering and becoming more polluted. While the government has to keep the lake clean by the act, it can be much cleaner as it has not been fully restored to its original state.

Thus, TREC needs people to support it so they can continue to preserve the environment of Lake Erie. So this is what the lake may look like permanently if TREC is underfunded.

Moving on to my second point, one way that humans negatively affect Lake Erie is due to agricultural and urban runoff. Earlier I said that phosphorus causes a lot of algae to spawn. On states that, “84% of phosphorous in the Lake Erie basin is from commercial fertilizers and 16% is from manure.” With this data, it shows that more research needs to be done with preventing agricultural runoff because currently, toxic algae still exists in Lake Erie due to the increase of phosphorous from fertilizers and manures.

With urban runoff, everyone can contribute to prevent it. For example, if you throw trash on the ground at Presque Isle State Park, it will go into the lake and contaminate the water. That’s preventable. TREC is trying to prevent pollution like that by spreading awareness to the public.

To summarize, TREC needs people to visit, volunteer, and donate to continue the forward movement of preserving the environment by researching, implementing the research, and educating the public. Without your help, TREC will not be able to work as effectively and the environment may suffer because of the lack of support. Now, we will move on to Steve to talk a

little more about TREC and what you can do more specifically to help TREC.

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